David Gring was named Valparaiso University’s head men’s golf coach in June 2011. A two-time Horizon League Coach of the Year (2013, 2015), he completed his ninth season at the helm of the Valpo program in 2019-2020.
Gring led his team to a banner season in 2019-20 before the year was eventually cut short due to COVID-19. The squad finished with the second-best scoring average since the program’s 2009 relaunch at 296.8, narrowly behind the 2014-15 record of 296.2. The season was highlighted by a team title at the 19-team Invitation at Savannah Harbor on Feb. 15-16. That was the program’s first team championship since winning the Wright State Invitational in April 2015 and the first time in the program’s modern history that it came out on top in a field of 10 or more teams. The Wright State team that Valpo edged out for the tournament crown was the defending Horizon League champion and went to an NCAA Regional the previous season.
The 2019-20 campaign also featured team runner-up finishes at the Crusader Collegiate (Sept. 16-17) and Zach Johnson Invitational (Sept. 30 – Oct. 1). Entering the fall slate, Valpo didn’t have a team top-two finish in an event that featured more than four teams since 2015. Valpo did so in consecutive events with the Crusader Collegiate and Zach Johnson Invitational, both of which featured 15 teams. Before this season, Valpo had never finished first or second in a field of 15 or more squads.
The Brown & Gold cracked the program record book several times in 2019-2020. The team posted a 282 (-6) in the second round of the Crusader Collegiate on Sept. 16, tying for second in program history in 18-hole score in relation to par and overall score. That came after Valpo had tied for sixth in program history at three strokes under par in the opening round of that event. The Crusader Collegiate ranked second since the program’s relaunch in 2009 for 54-hole tournament score at 858. It was the program’s best tournament mark since 2014. The team also ranked second in program history in 54-hole tournament score in relation to par at minus-6.
The 2019-20 Invitation at Savannah Harbor (Feb. 15-16) also saw Valpo insert itself into the program record book. The 54-hole tournament score of 869 was tied for fourth in program history, while the 54-hole score in relation to par of +5 tied for third all-time. Valpo cracked the all-time Top 10 for single-round team score in both the second and third rounds of that event.
Under Gring’s guidance in 2019-20, sophomore Garrett Willis won an individual medalist honor at the Zach Johnson Invitational, while freshman Caleb VanArragon shattered the program record for single-season scoring average. Valpo boasted three MVC Golfer of the Week accolades during the season, two by VanArragon and one by Willis.
During the 2018-19 campaign, Gring coached a youthful team that enjoyed good success while starting two freshmen and two sophomores, setting the stage for a bright future. He recruited and instructed a pair of freshmen who finished first and second on the team in scoring average while both cracking the program’s all-time Top 10 for single-season scoring average. Charlie Toman posted a 73.94 to rank fourth in program history, while Garrett Willis tied for eighth with his 74.52. In addition, a pair of sophomores (Jack Juskow and Brett Seward) completed their second collegiate seasons with career scoring averages that ranked in the Top 10 in program history. Willis tied for 10th at the MVC Championship, the highest finish by a Valpo freshman in a league championship since the program resumed in 2009.
The success during the 2018-19 season was exemplified by the team’s four-man season scoring average of 298.3, which at that time ranked second in program history behind only the 2014-15 squad (296.2). Under Gring’s direction, Mitchell Wittmann completed his four-year career with a season scoring average of 76.00 and a career mark of 77.00. Wittmann was recognized as part of the MVC Scholar-Athlete Spotlight for his success in competition, in the classroom and in the community, then finished the season by earning MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team honors.
The team cracked the program record book several times over the course of the season, which was Valpo’s second as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. Valpo set the program record for 36-hole tournament low at the Butler Spring Invitational on April 1-2, carding a 580. Gring’s squad followed that up with the second-best 36-hole score in program history by stroking a 582 at the Wright State Invitational from April 14-15. Both performances also ranked in the Top 10 in program history in 36-hole tournament low in relation to par. Under Gring’s guidance, sophomore Jack Juskow cracked the program record book with an 18-hole round of 67 (t-6th all-time) at the Wright State Invitational on April 15 to finish the event with a 141, the second-best 36-hole score in program history.
The 2018-19 fall season featured its fair share of low rounds, including a 282 (-6) in Round 1 of the Golfweek Program Challenge on Sept. 9, which ranked second in program history in both overall score and relation to par. Valpo completed the Golfweek Program Challenge with an 880, which tied for seventh in program history in 54-hole tournament low. The team’s +16 ranked tied for fifth all-time in 54-hole score in relation to par.
For the second consecutive season, Valpo exceeded expectations in the MVC Championship. After being picked to finish seventh in the pre-tournament poll, the team finished in fifth place, 16 strokes ahead of sixth and 19 strokes better than the seventh-place team. Valpo continued to thrive in the classroom as well, earning NCAA Public Recognition for the fourth straight year and received GCAA All-Academic Team honors for the ninth straight year.
In 2017-18, senior Michael Doherty was named to the Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete First Team, while junior Mitchell Wittmann received MVC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention.
Gring guided his team through the transition to the prestigious and competitive Missouri Valley Conference in 2017-18. The team exceeded expectations in its first season in The Valley, finishing in sixth place in the conference championships, two places higher than predicted in the Pre-Championship Poll.
Individuals continued to excel under Gring’s instruction, highlighted by freshman Drew Alexander matching a program record by carding a 65 over the first 18 holes of the SIUE Derek Dolenc Invitational on Sept. 25. Gring coached Alexander and fellow freshman Brett Seward to immediate success in the collegiate ranks, as they finished 2017-18 as part of a three-way tie for the individual team lead.
Under Gring's direction, 2017 graduates Peter Webb and Nick Seitz became two of the most accomplished golfers in program history. Webb finished with a program-record 74.26 career scoring average, while Seitz exited second in program history in career scoring average at 74.92. Webb finished his senior season with a scoring average of 73.30, eclipsing his own single-season program record from the year prior.
Webb was named the co-Player of the Year in the Horizon League in 2017, becoming the first Valpo player to receive that honor. Nick Seitz also received all-league recognition on the all-league second team and all-tournament team. Seitz excelled both athletically and academically, graduating with a perfect 4.0 cumulative GPA in biology and chemistry and winning Valpo's Laurel Award for the highest GPA of any graduating senior.
Gring guided the 2016-2017 team to a 299.0 team scoring average, the second-best team scoring average in program history behind only 2014-2015 (296.2). Valpo continued to uphold its standard of excellence in the classroom as well, finishing the 2016-2017 academic year with a 3.63 team GPA, the highest of a men’s team in any sport in the Horizon League.
The 2015-16 season saw Gring guide Valpo to its third consecutive season with a team scoring average below 300. Along the way, Peter Webb set a new program record for lowest individual scoring average, while both Webb and Nick Seitz earned All-League accolades for a second straight season. In the classroom, the 2015-16 squad posted a team GPA of 3.755 - the best of any Division I men's golf program in the nation.
Gring led Valpo to perhaps its best all-around season in program history during the 2014-15 campaign. Named Horizon League Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the regular season, Gring guided Valpo as it set a new program record for four-man team scoring average at 296.2 - three strokes clear of second place.
In addition, Valpo broke every individual and team tournament record during the 2014-15 season, while the team’s top three golfers posted the top three individual single-season scoring averages to that point in program history. Valpo claimed team titles at the CSU Cougar Classic and the Wright State Invitational, defeating each of the other six Horizon League institutions at the latter tournament, and also earned a runner-up finish at the Whistling Straits Intercollegiate.
Gring has taken the program to new heights in his time at the helm, including leading Valpo to the team title at the 2013 Horizon League Championship.
The individuals under Gring's tutelage have also enjoyed success over his tenure. In that time, seven Valpo players have earned individual medalist honors at tournaments, including Thomas Wettstein claiming the individual title at the Horizon League Championship in 2013. In addition, 14 individuals have picked up runner-up finishes over that time. At the league level, 11 Valpo athletes have earned all-league honors, while Peter Webb was tabbed the Horizon League Freshman of the Year in 2014 before going on to share the league’s Player of the Year award as a senior.
Valpo earned 17 Academic All-League honors during Gring’s tenure. Twelve golfers have received GCAA All-America Scholar accolades, while Kyle Henning closed out his career by claiming CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District honors in 2014.
Gring played golf for Valpo from 1985-1988 and was a two-time team Most Valuable Player. He earned All-Heartland Conference honors in 1985 before receiving All-AMCU accolades in 1987. He played on the U.S. Amateur Tour during the summers of 1986 and 1987.
David and his wife Pam have four children: Ryan born in 2000, Lauren born in 2002, Nicholas born in 2005 and Grace born in 2006.